Ultimate guide to comfortable Road Cycling
Would love to hit century rides often but suffering with painful, demotivating and dejected feeling with your bicycle rides? You are not alone! - The most interesting and bad trend we see people around with their dream bike is that majority of cases they are selected, fitted and maintained so incorrectly that most of the enthusiasts loose interest in cycling and drop off the newly found passion forever.
Getting the most exotic bike or most well known brand's bike doesn't help us in finding the best performance or comfortable rides on a bike! - and even a right frame size, but that doesn’t mean your bike fits you yet. There’s a lot you can – should – do to tune your machine to your own physique. Why?
– To avoid injury
– To go faster and further
– For greater comfort and pleasure
A typical BikeFit session in progress at Cycling Boutique Experience Center
At Cycling Boutique, we extensively assists our customers to achieve the best of cycling by going beyond the call of duty to spend ample time and resources so that our customers will be enjoying the incredible miles they achieve on saddle soon after they picks up a bike from us. They does hundreds and thousands of Kilometres literally non-stop, be it for Brevets (Randonneuring), Ultra events to name a few.
Here are five ways to keep bike setup simple.
1. Adjust your reach
The stretch from the saddle to the bars determines your riding position. Ideally your spine should lean at around 45 degrees, and you’ll comfortably reach every part of the bars with your elbows slightly bent. An excessive stretch is quite common, especially for women, who often have relatively shorter torsos than men.
You can adjust the reach with longer/shorter stems or bars with a different reach. For example, most standard stems facilitates a +/- 6º rise, which is available in various size from 70mm to 140mm, allowing huge adjustment. We do not ideally recommend shorter than this range, without a skilled BikeFitter's supervision.
2. Adjust your bar angle
Many BikeFit theories are to be applied by experts like those at Cycling Boutique. But if you find no one to assist you near your place, ignore the old advice about drops parallel to the ground – it will almost certainly put too much weight on your hands. Rotate the bars until you get a comfortable bend in your wrist and the hoods aren’t trying to pull your thumbs like wishbones. Height is also key. If you’re racing you’ll want the bar lower than the saddle, but otherwise level or even higher is fine. The defining factor? Comfort.
Carbon fiber damps vibration for enhanced long-distance performance, while a shallower drop, many of the short reach Compact aerobars helps you reach them easily and is more comfortable.
If you’re racing, there’s still no need to suffer – the Cycling Boutique have many New Ergonomic dropbars with large-radius curves and a wide, flat top to reduce fatigue.
Made from super light alloys and carbon, these new generation ergo dropbars features a deeper drop than our Compact bars
3. Adjust your saddle
Seat height is vital. Your knee should have a slight bend at full extension. Adjust by raising the saddle until your leg is straight with your heel on the pedal. If your hips rock, your saddle is too high.
With the pedals level, your forward kneecap should sit somewhat above the pedal axle. It’s not a rigid law, though: you can also adjust this to fine-tune the weight on your hands. Pressure should be slight, but not absent.
Finally, the ‘correct’ angle doesn’t put noticeable pressure on the front or centre of your pelvis. Avoid a forward tilt of more than a few degrees, as that puts too much weight on your wrists. You need a reliable seatpost for all this: the lightweight seatposts at Cycling Boutique, made by top brands like FSA, for instance, provide incredibly fine adjustment with the fatigue-reducing compliance of carbon.
4. Adjust your pedals and cleats
Pressure hot spots cut circulation, while poor angles strain knees and legs. These are not good! When clipped in, the ball of your foot should be over the pedal axle, or a little ahead of it. If you’re straining calves or Achilles tendons, adjust the cleat towards the heel. If your arches are sore, move it towards the toe.
As a basic thumb of rule try this: Looking down (carefully…) while pedalling, your knee should be over your foot. Adjust the cleat side to side so your foot is neither outside nor inside your knee. Your cleats should also mimic the natural toe-in/out angle of your feet – and bear in mind they might not be the same on both sides.
5. Check your frame
If you’re still struggling to get a balanced position, you may need to rethink frame size after all. Your top tube length may simply be wrong. As a rough guide, we’d expect to see:
- – 160cm-169cm (5ft 3in to 5ft 6in) riders on 46 to 53cm frames
- – 171cm-181cm (5ft 8in to 5ft 11in) riders on 52 to 54cm frames
- – 183cm-193cm (6ft to 6ft 4in) riders on 56 to 62m frames
Combining these five tips should get you the optimum bike fit benchmarks to start dialling in your perfect position with the benefits of riding faster and longer in better comfort, and avoiding risking injury.
Happy miles! :)
*In collaboration with our channel partners, including FSA.
*Note: BikeFit is a serious and most professional task to be carried out by most experienced experts who know in and out of cycling geometry, human anatomy and physiology and also someone who have riding experience for decades on various aspects of cycling, with proven track record of doing thousands of BikeFits. Cycling Boutique is a pioneer in assisting top international athletes to national level champions to enthusiasts from all over the world to dial in find their perfect cycling setups. Do reach us here for getting your BikeFit appointment from us at Cycling Boutique: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp here